Premier League • England

Paul Merson claims Luis Diaz could struggle next season as ‘unsung’ Liverpool ‘heroes’ urged to step up

Luis Diaz, Fred Man Utd v Liverpool July 2022

Paul Merson has claimed that Luis Diaz may struggle to replicate last season’s stunning start at Liverpool in his first full season at Anfield.

The Colombian winger moved to Merseyside in January with a lack of English but a fluency in Jurgen Klopp’s footballing style. And he subsequently hit the ground running in his first half-season under the German.

Diaz impressed in the Carabao Cup final only a few weeks after joining. He was also perhaps unlucky not to score in the FA Cup final and settle the contest before penalties.

In between, he kept Liverpool‘s albeit unsuccessful hunt for a quadruple alive until the very end with crucial goals.

However, Merson has warned of second-season syndrome setting in for Diaz as opponents learn about his strengths.

“Unlike last season, Luis Diaz is on the radar this time around,” the pundit wrote in a Sportskeeda column.

“When he first joined, team talks from opposition managers wouldn’t have really been about him, but now he’s quickly made the left wing his own and will find it harder to make an impact this season.

“He’s been a fantastic addition for Liverpool and should continue from where he left off last season.”

Luis Diaz needs support from ‘unsung heroes’

Merson added that Liverpool’s crucial midfield is “what doesn’t get talked about” enough because of the focus on Diaz and his fellow attackers.

But the pundit insisted that Liverpool would be nowhere without the likes of Jordan Henderson and Fabinho.

“They are the unsung heroes of the team and will once again have to be at their best if Liverpool are to compete on all fronts,” Merson said.

There is an ongoing debate this summer as to whether Liverpool should sign another midfielder. They have signed youngster Fabio Carvalho and how prominently he features this season will be a big talking point.

Diaz has clear Liverpool task

As for Diaz, his task next season is clear: to emulate Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane’s consistent form in front of goal for Liverpool.

Salah scored 44 goals in his first Anfield campaign but has continued to be the driving force up top. He has earned a long-awaited new contract this summer after 156 goals in 254 games.

Luis Diaz backed to replace Vinicius Junior at Real Madrid

Tino Asprilla thinks Liverpool star Luis Diaz has the ability to replace Vinicius Junior at Real Madrid.

Mane may have left for Bayern Munich this summer, but he has done so after 120 goals in six seasons at Liverpool.

Diaz now needs to replicate the consistent goalscoring form if he is to rank alongside the pair as one of the great goalscorers of the Klopp era.